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8 Ways to Flunk Your Interview

There are innumerable interview tips out there regarding what you should do to impress a hiring manager and land the job. Dress professionally. Arrive early. Make eye contact and practice a firm handshake. The list goes on, and any job seeker with access to the internet can hone their interview skills by reading up on and practicing good habits.

However, while it’s extremely important to know what you should do on an interview, it’s equally as important to know what you shouldn’t. Without this knowledge, a well-intentioned job seeker could wind up making an interview-ending blunder without being aware of their infraction.

If you have an interview fast approaching, or simply want to brush up on your interviewing skills, take a look at our list of 8 major interview faux pas:

  1. Taking control of the conversation. There’s probably plenty you want to ask, but save it for the end of the interview. The interviewer is likely going to ask if you have any questions, and even if he or she doesn’t, it’s much more polite to wait until the end of the conversation to interject.
  2. NOT asking questions. Not only will you miss an opportunity to learn valuable information about the company and the position, you may come off as unprepared to the interviewer. If an interviewer asks you if you have any questions—and even if they don’t—be sure to come up with a few by preparing ahead of time.
  3. Resorting to clichés. Turning to over-used terms like “team player” is uncreative at best, and answering “What’s your greatest weakness?” with “I’m a perfectionist/workaholic” can come off as lazy or dishonest. Stick to the truth and opt for more original answers.
  4. Treating it as a question-and-answer session. An interview is a conversation, not an interrogation. You don’t want to drone on for hours, but be sure to offer substance to your responses as opposed to leaving off with “yes,” “no,” or a single-word answer.
  5. Arriving too early. It’s good to shoot for an early arrival in case you run into any problems in your commute, but if you arrive to an interview over 10 minutes early, it could be seen as inconsiderate and demanding. The interviewer has other commitments prior to your meeting, so instead of asking for them too far in advance, take that time to review your resume and any talking points you’d like to address.
  6. Not silencing your phone. It’s obvious that answering or using your phone in any way during an interview is rude, but many often forget to silence their devices before entering the room. Be sure to turn your phone to silent, if not completely off, to avoid any interruptions or distractions.
  7. Bad-mouthing past employers. If you’re willing to disrespect your past bosses in this interview, what’s to make the interviewer think you won’t do the same about them in the future? If an interviewer asks why you left a past position and that parting wasn’t amiable, take the high road and avoid any negative talk.
  8. Being unfamiliar with your resume. Your interviewer may ask you about the facts on your resume, such as the duties you performed in a past role or your proficiency with a certain skill. Though you likely know the main facts on your resume, since they come directly from your own experiences in your career, it can be easy to freeze up and let something slip your mind if you’re nervous. Be sure to know your resume inside and out before entering an interview so it doesn’t seem like you’re unprepared or, worse, lying.

 

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